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Employers Short-Changing Residential Care, Nursing Home Workers Pay Out Over 6 Million

Labor law violations were behind this recent victory for Bay Area residential care facility workers and nursing home workers. The 1,300 workers receiving the $6.8 million in wages were not paid correctly, as mandated by California labor laws, between 2011 and 2014. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Labor went to bat for these workers and successfully recovered the wages they should have been paid.

The recovered money was actually funds that would have gone towards paying basic living expenses for those employees. The workers did not complain because they were not aware of their rights or were afraid of coming forward and perhaps losing their jobs.

Violations documented included non-payment for overnight work, not providing proper sleeping quarters, working up to 14 hours a day, but only be paid for eight hours, being paid a flat weekly salary despite working more than 40 hours a week, thus not paying overtime as required by law. Cheating workers out of wages means a facility may lower its cost of service to residents and thus be less competitive.

Many of the workers were not paid overtime or federal minimum wages. All monies recovered were earmarked for the workers. As a result of such a stunning coup, Bay Area employers are beginning to comply with the laws and realize that there are laws in place dictating how their employees must be paid. There is no excuse for not paying a worker according to the law.

Those that are caught short-changing workers do eventually pay the piper when the government catches up with them. It is best to pay the required wages now rather than have to pay a large lump sum of back wages for a number of years.

If you work in a position that does not pay you the required minimum wage, does not pay overtime worked or asks you to stop the clock and continue working, you need to speak to a skilled employment attorney. These actions are illegal and you are entitled to a fair wage by law.

Alleged Worker Misclassification, Wage Theft Sends LA and Long Beach Truckers Back to Picket Lines

Worker misclassification is a major issue in California, particularly for truckers at company yards in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Ports area. 

Once again pickets were set up by the Teamsters Union advocating fair pay for fair work — something they say is not currently happening. Lines were set up at Harbor Rail Transport, Pacer Cartage, Intermodal Bridge Transport and Pacific 9 Transportation. Almost 14,000 truckers work both ports of call and close to 1,000 companies are permitted to do so.

Truckers allege their employer(s) are stealing their wages by misclassifying them as independent contractors when they should be employees — a state of affairs that that leaves then with fewer job protections and lower pay than if they were company employees. They have successfully won several rulings in the courts with government agencies agreeing they had been misclassified.

If you are in a situation such as this one or a home care worker, a freelance technical worker or other employee that may be misclassified, speak to a capable employment attorney. You do have rights, and you need to know what those worker’s right are.

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Even high profile attorneys may be accused of sexual harassment

The latest sexual harassment case to hit the airwaves involves accusations made against the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. Deputy District Attorneys Tannaz Mokayef and Beth Silverman allege Gary Hearnsbeger, a prosecutor with 34 years of service behind him, sexually harassed them in and out of the office.

His conduct allegedly included lewd remarks and behavior, and unwanted touching. The timeline indicated in the complaint states his behavior took place in 2011 when he was the lead supervising attorney.

Court documents are painting the picture of a man who played favorites with female attorneys who allegedly engaged in trading sexual favors for choice assignments and promotions, permitted him to grope them or allowed him to banter with them in a sexually graphic manner. The lawsuit also names Los Angeles County as a defendant.

Silverman alleges he walked behind her, placing his hands on her buttocks or hips, inside and outside of the office. He was told to cease and desist and apparently retaliated by starting to criticize her personality and work ethic, calling her out and cursing her in front of others in the office and denying her case assignments. Mokayef also indicated she was the victim of similar behavior and when she rejected him he began screaming at her, verbally abusing her and assigning her stale cases. The cited actions and verbal abuse continued outside of the office, even at family gatherings with other district attorneys.

The accused denies the claims from his new position in the Public Integrity Division. Hearnsberger was not disciplined in any manner and suggests the lawsuit was filed as a result of the two women attempting to retaliate against him for reassigning them from active cases.

There is always more to a story such as this one and it may be many months before the truth of the matter emerges. In the meantime, this media storm shines a light on the pervasive nature of sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment in any form is not acceptable and is illegal. Should this lawsuit result in a verdict for the women, it may help to set a precedent for other similar situations. If you are facing sexual harassment in your workplace, reach out and talk to an experienced sexual harassment attorney.